Rafael Nadal falls apart on clay, just in time for the French Open

“I will continue to dream of that goal,” Nadal said of the tournament. “The bad thing is that today it’s not possible to play for me, but maybe in two days things will get better. This is the problem with what I have on my feet. “

The French Open will kick off in nine days on May 22, although Nadal may not have to play until May 24 because the French Open, which starts on Sunday, holds their first round in three days.

Though Nadal, who turns 36 next month, has often displayed surprising fighting spirit and resilience, this will be a challenge like no other for him in Paris this spring.

“Definitely difficult to see him suffer there in the end; I never want to see him, especially with a great legend like Rafa, “said Shapovalov, who had yet to produce bold tennis and great serves to win on Thursday.” Let’s hope he’s okay. He brings so much to our sport. Let’s hope he’s fit and well. ready to go for the French “.

The only time Nadal triumphed at Roland Garros without winning a clay tournament earlier this year thing in 2020the season shortened by the pandemic when the start of the French Open was postponed to October and nearly the entire clay court season was canceled.

This year the schedule is back to normal, but not for Nadal. After a torrid start to the season, with 20 consecutive victories and a record 21 Grand Slam singles titles at the Australian Openhis clay campaign was delayed by a stress fracture in the ribs that prevented him from competing or training normally for six weeks.

He returned for the Madrid Open this month and was blown away by the 19-year-old Spanish phenomenon Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-finals and suffered his first defeat at the Italian Open since 2008, when Juan Carlos Ferrero, ex n. 1, who is now the coach of Alcaraz, surprised Nadal in the second round.